LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – “Drawn to Life” is the story of Walt Disney animation’s art brought to life with live acrobatics through the eyes of a young girl named Julie.
“I play this character that is typically not necessarily played by a person that has diverse origins like mine,” Miho Inaba said.
Born in Canada to a French mother and a Japanese father, Inaba plays the lead role in the Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs.
“For me, this is really special,” said Inaba, of her first major gig.
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It’s a role she hopes will serve to inspire children from multicultural backgrounds like her.
“It can plant the seed inside of them, that you know they can also do that, too,” she said.
Growing up in Canada, the 29-year-old said she didn’t see much Asian representation in movies or TV, and as a child, she struggled with her own identity.
“I belong to France. I belong to Japan. Through my education, I have some kind of belonging to Canada and then at the same time you don’t really belong anywhere,” she said.
Eventually, she learned to let go of that feeling.
“It took me a while to free myself from this idea of fitting in, and it took me a while to embrace really that I don’t need to belong anywhere. I can create my own path,” she said.
She remains rooted to this path by cooking traditional French and Japanese food and visiting the place of her ancestors, Japan, after many years.
Inaba said celebrating Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month is important because it lets her community know they matter.
“What’s important about it is for all of the Asian populations that do live here in the USA that they feel that they have a place,” she said.
“Drawn to Life” is presented Wednesday through Sunday at Disney Springs. You can buy tickets to see Inaba and the rest of the talented cast here.
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